Auguste Rodin

The Fallen Caryatid Carrying her Stone

c.1880–1, cast 1950

Artist
Auguste Rodin 1840–1917
Original title
La Cariatide tombée portant sa pierre
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 390 x 305 x 310 mm, 28.8 kg
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1950
Reference
N05955

Not on display

Display caption

In 1880 Rodin was commissioned to make a portal and set of monumental doors for the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris. This work, known as 'The Gates of Hell', included a large number of figures in relief. These inspired several individual works, including this caryatid. An early version of this sculpture was exhibited in 1886. Three years later one critic wrote, 'this supple little creature, not more that eighteen inches high, is regarded by the sculptor and his friends as one of his very best compositions, and many copies of it have been made for the latter in both marble and bronze'. This particular bronze was made in 1950 from a plaster cast.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Auguste Rodin 1840-1917

N05955 La Cariatide tombée portant sa Pierre (The Fallen Caryatid carrying her Stone) c.1880-1

Not inscribed
Bronze, 16 ¾ x 11 x 13 (42.5 x 28 x 33)
Cast from [Tate Gallery] N04404 by order of the Trustees 1950
Exh: Rodin, Arts Council touring exhibition, November 1966-December 1967 (7); Rodin: Sculpture and Drawings, Hayward Gallery, London, January-April 1970 (14, repr.); on loan to the Bethnal Green Museum, London, since 1970
Lit: T.H. Bartlett, 'Auguste Rodin, Sculptor' in The American Architect and Building News, XXV, 1889, p.249; Frederick Lawton, The Life and Work of Auguste Rodin (London 1906), pp.126-7, repr. facing p.128; Sommerville Story, Rodin (London 1939), p.144, repr. pl.23; Georges Grappe, Catalogue du Musée Rodin (Paris 1944), Nos.63, 64, 91, repr.; Athena Tacha Spear, Rodin Sculpture in the Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland 1967), pp.59, 98-9, bronze, marble and stone versions repr. pls.73-5; Ionel Jianou and C. Goldscheider, Rodin (Paris 1969), p.88 (dated 1881); Jennifer Hawkins, Victoria and Albert Museum: Rodin Sculptures (London 1975), No.5, pp.19-20, repr. pl.8; John L. Tancock, The Sculpture of Auguste Rodin: The Collection of the Rodin Museum, Philadelphia (Philadelphia 1976), pp.40-1, stone, marble and bronze versions repr. pp.51-2

This figure was conceived for the 'Gates of Hell' and appears at the left angle, at the top of the monument, sheltered under a swathe of drapery. It was first exhibited at the Exposition Internationale de Peinture at the Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, in 1886. Writing of it in 1889, T.H. Bartlett could say already: 'This supple little creature, not more than eighteen inches high, is regarded by the sculptor and his friends as one of his very best compositions, and many copies of it have been made for the latter in both marble and bronze.' It has also been known as 'Sorrow', 'Destiny' and 'One of the Damned'.

This particular cast was made by the lost wax process at the R. Fiorini Foundry in London in 1950 from a plaster presented to the Gallery by F. Watts in 1928 and originally in the possession of Sir Thomas Brock, the sculptor. (According to a signed statement of 8 July 1928 by his nephew William Brock, it was given by Rodin, with all reproduction rights, to Sir Thomas Brock in 1906). This plaster, which had the Gallery registration number [N0]4404, was reported missing at the time of the check of the collection in 1957. Another bronze made from it in 1928 was presented by F. Watts the following year to the Colchester Albert Hall and Art Gallery, and is now in the Minories Art Gallery in Colchester.

There seem to be at least twelve other bronze casts, including casts in the Musée Rodin, Paris; the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff; the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp. To these may be added several versions in stone or marble, sometimes with slight changes in the composition or the surface treatment, including a carving in stone in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, executed c.1899, and one in marble in the Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, executed in 1907. A plaster belongs to the Musée de Belfort.

Rodin later made an enlargement 130cm high for the decoration of a private house in the Argentine, and a further variant which has the caryatid supporting an urn instead of a stone.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.639-40, reproduced p.639

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